Our family is dealing with a loss this week, as my mother-in-law passed away suddenly over the weekend. We are now left with the difficult task of sorting through the belongings and papers that were left behind. My wife and I got a start on that yesterday--and it got me to thinking about where some of us place our priorities.
The late comedian George Carlin had a great bit about "stuff". He talked about taking a trip to Hawaii and how much "stuff" he had to take along. Then when he was invited to stay with friends on another island he had to leave behind "stuff" at his hotel to take more "stuff" to the other island and pretty soon he had "stuff all over the bleeping place".
I used to be a "stuff" person. Designer label clothes, high-end electronics, all of the latest music releases and more baseball caps than I could wear in a year. But now (thanks to Dave Ramsey and the economic realities of middle age), I'm more of an "experiences" person. If I'm going to spend money now, I want a memorable experience to come with it.
I drive a Jeep Wrangler not because I off-road every weekend--but because those summer days when I can have the top down and wind blowing and the sun shining on me make me feel better than driving in a regular car with the window rolled up and the air conditioner on full blast. I would much rather spend my money on golf rounds with good friends at difficult, beautiful courses like Whistling Straits and Kapalua Plantation, or having fun with my wife at a Disney World park, or being able to say that I saw Sir Paul McCartney and U2 and Nirvana and REM in concert multiple times than have a boat or snowmobile sitting in my garage gathering dust for months at a time.
I don't know who said it first, but whoever it was was 100% correct in saying that you never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. Because in the end, it's not the "stuff" you accumulated during your life--but rather the experiences shared with others that truly define your life.